The delegation was led by Portabella and CAF Club Licencing Manager, Ahmed Harraz. SAFA’s General Manager of Corporate Services, Pinky Lehoko was also part of the group. They visited Chiefs Village for three days last week, from Wednesday to Friday, and interviewed various people, including Chairman Kaizer Motaung.
“FIFA wants to share knowledge between all stakeholders in regards to the ‘FIFA Professional Case Studies’ – between the clubs, leagues and the professional football players’ association.” Portabella explains the goal of the visit. “Through these case studies we will showcase the professional infrastructure and administration of a variety of clubs.”
That’s why the FIFA delegation covered all areas at Kaizer Chiefs, from first team, youth development and administration. Issues discussed also included marketing, social media, branding, sponsorship, supporters and finance. All the interviews were filmed.
“The two main objectives is sharing knowledge between professional football stakeholders and to inspire clubs as well as leagues around the world,” Portabella continued. “So we will highlight specific examples of Kaizer Chiefs, which clubs around the world can utilise to improve their own organisation.”
The visit will result in a case study of 80 pages that will be ready in March. There will also be four videos highlighting specific areas in which the club is particularly excelling. These case studies will be shared at FIFA conferences and CAF seminars.
Before doing the case study on Amakhosi, the FIFA delegation visited Atlanta United, which plays in America’s MSL. This study will probably be shared in February. Meanwhile, during their stay in South Africa, the FIFA delegation also visited Orlando Pirates for two days.
“We will look at other clubs in the future,” highlighted Portabella, “but we are still in the process of finalising which club in a particular continent we will visit next.”
The delegation was particularly impressed with the way Chiefs do their branding. “It’s very well utilised across the board, over all platforms of the club, including players, activations and social media,” explains Harraz. “That’s impressive. What’s also great that you don’t wait for FIFA or CAF to tell you what to do, you already act and that’s also why we are here, because you can help us see what the next step should be.”
“We would love to have Kaizer Chiefs play in the CAF Champions League,” Harraz pointed out, “because of the branding and all the other points we have mentioned. Chiefs’ participation would add a lot to our club competition. It would increase the profile and the interest in the competition. This in turn will attract more sponsors.”
“The press conference was the best run I ever attended,” Harraz added. “Also, the way in which the coaches of both sides, despite being highly competitive, showed respect for each other was wonderful to see.”
Then, Portabella states another fact: “I would like to add one more thing. Even ahead of branding, it’s fantastic to see the seriousness with which the club is taking their youth development. The facilities, the equipment, the medical support, having proper coaches in place, fitness coaches, goalkeeper coaches… It’s clear that youth development is a priority for the club.”
“We were extremely well received,” concluded Portabella. “We truly appreciate the openness of Kaizer Chiefs and the willingness to share their knowledge with other stakeholders.
“We also want to invite all South African clubs to share their knowledge with each other. Of course, there is competitiveness and rivalry on the pitch, but there should be strong collaboration between the clubs off-the-pitch. This will be for the betterment of the league.”